How to Capture and Save Computer Screenshots with Windows XP

Take a screen shot of your computer desktop.
by Updated January 10, 2010

It's really simple to take a snapshot of what's on your computer screen and turn the screenshot into an image using graphic software like Photoshop or Microsoft Paint. Windows XP provides this screen grab functionality to create screenshots using the PrintScreen key on your keyboard.

Taking a screenshot

Take a screenshot of the entire screen
To take a screenshot of the entire screen, press the PrintScreen key on your keyboard. This will place a copy of the image on the clipboard, where you can then paste the image into program like Photoshop or MS Paint. The PrintScreen key is typically located on the top row, just to the right of the F12 key on most keyboards. Whether you have one or more monitors connected to your computer, pressing PrintScreen will capture your entire viewable desktop/ screen(s).

Take a screenshot of a selected window
To capture a screenshot of just the active window, press and hold the Alt key, and then press PrintScreen on your keyboard (Alt+PrintScreen). An image of just the selected window will be copied to the clipboard where you will be able to paste the image into other applications such as Photoshop, MS Word or even WordPad.

Saving a screenshot

Save a screenshot as an image
To save the screenshot as an image, open an image processing application such as Microsoft Paint or Adobe Photoshop and select File --> New to create a new canvas. Now select Edit --> Paste (or Ctrl+V) to drop in the screenshot that was just taken onto the canvas.  You will now want to save the image as .png, .bmp, .gif or .jpg file type. A good choice is to save the screenshot as PNG due to its use of lossless compression. If the screenshot has lots of different colors you will want to choose a format that supports 24-bit color.

To save the image in Microsoft Paint select File --> Save. Then in the Save As dialog box, name your image and select the file type in the Save as type: Drop down box.  (Note: To open MS Paint in Windows XP click Start --> All Programs --> Accessories --> Paint.)

To save the image in Adobe Photoshop select File --> Save for Web. In the Save for Web dialog box, select your image settings (.png) and then click Save.



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